UFC Fight Night 82 features a welterweight matchup between title contenders Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson. Below are the studs and value plays for UFC Fight Night 82 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
Best Plays on the Card
Misha Cirkunov ($11,000) vs. Alex Nicholson
Cirkunov is a huge -1000 favorite to win this fight after dismantling Daniel Jolly in his UFC debut.
Cirkunov used his strong wrestling to take down Jolly three times before knocking him out in the first round. Cirkunov is a well-rounded fighter who has four knockouts and four submissions in his 10 career victories. His last five fights have ended in first-round finishes.
Nicholson is making his UFC debut. He comes in with a 6-1 record but he’s stepping up in competition against Cirkunov. Nicholson is a big fighter who has won all of his fights by stoppage.
The problem Nicholson faces in this matchup is he’s still raw. Nicholson has power but he’s not a very technical striker. That will allow opportunities for Cirkunov to either take him down or counter with his striking.
Cirkunov is not only a strong grappler but he does serious damage once he takes an opponent to the ground. Cirkunov should end this fight early by either knockout or submission.
Ovince Saint Preux ($10,700) vs. Rafael Feijao
Saint Preux is one of the easier fighters to predict in the UFC. He can rack up wins over decent fighters but when Saint Preux has to go up to the next level of competition, he’s in trouble.
Saint Preux beat an aging Shogun Rua but got dominated by both Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira. Feijao is the kind of fighter Saint Preux will be able to handle.
Saint Preux has struggled against fighters that can either take him down or possess the threat of taking him down. Feijao only attempts 1.61 takedowns per 15 minutes, so his ground game isn’t much of a threat to Saint Preux.
The advantage goes to Saint Preux if this fight stays standing. Feijao has been knocked out in three of his last four losses. Saint Preux is coming off a bad loss to Teixeira in a fight that was the headliner, so there’s a slight concern as to how he’ll respond. However, Feijao has shown very little since coming to the UFC and Saint Preux has the advantage in virtually every area.
Fourteen of Saint Preux’s 18 wins have come by stoppage. He should get another decisive win over an inferior opponent.
Best Value Plays for the Price
Stephen Thompson ($9,000) vs. Johny Hendricks
I’m taking Thompson at his low salary in what I see as potentially being a razor close fight.
Thompson is 6-1 in the UFC. He’s won four of those fights by stoppage. Granted, none of those fighters have been the quality of Hendricks but Thompson is a dangerous striker who can attack an opponent in many different ways. Thompson attempts over nine strikes per minute and lands at a rate of 50 percent.
Hendricks is also an active striker with impressive power. The difference could be Hendricks’ wrestling. Thompson has a strong takedown defense on paper (78 percent) but he hasn’t fought anyone with Hendricks’ wrestling background.
The only other strong grappler Thompson has fought is Matt Brown. In giving Thompson the only loss of his career, Brown took him down five times. Hendricks averages over nine takedowns per 15 minutes with a 48 percent success rate, so Thompson’s takedown defense will be tested in this matchup.
The main fear with taking Thompson is Hendricks is able to take him down repeatedly and grind him out on the ground. There’s no question Hendricks is one of the most complete fighters in the welterweight division. However, if Thompson can keep this fight standing, he has a chance of not only pulling the upset but getting a finish because of his unique striking skills.
Thompson is stepping up in class here. He’s had one really tough fight versus Brown and came up short, while Hendricks has fought Brown, GSP, Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler twice. This fight could go a couple of different ways but if you’re looking to take a shot on someone with a lower salary who has the ability to finish, Thompson is a pretty good option.
Jared Rosholt ($9,200) vs. Roy Nelson
If you have to watch Rosholt, you may as well think about putting him in your lineup. Rosholt is as exciting as watching grass grow if you have a dry lawn. He’s 6-1 in the UFC but Rosholt usually just grinds out wins. Nelson looks done, so there’s an outside chance that Rosholt could finish him on his way to boring the world to another decision win.
Nelson has lost three fights in a row and he’s 1-5 and his last six. I like Rosholt to win the fight. There are better plays on the card but I’ll throw Rosholt in a couple of lineups given his salary with the hope that he finishes Nelson.